Tax Issue Is Latest Slip-up for Shaw

Delayed financials follow earlier stumbles over accounting for costs and investments.
Stephen TaubDecember 5, 2007

The Shaw Group said it will delay the filing of its 2007 annual report, which was due on Tuesday, for several days because it has not completed a review of deferred taxes.

In August the construction company filed restated results for its first fiscal quarter ended November 2006 that reduced previously reported income by $5.3 million, or $3.4 million after tax. The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the specific nature of the deferred-tax issue.

Shaw has experienced a series of accounting difficulties. The company announced last April that it had launched a review to determine the scope of a potential error in the estimated cost of an engineering and construction project off the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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In its August filing, the company said it had concluded that the financial results for the year ended August 31, 2006, contained two offsetting errors relating to the project, thus resulting in no financial-statement impact.

In addition, Shaw found that the financial statements for the November 2006 three-month period contained a $6.5 million error related to the project. The company said it also had reconsidered the accounting for its earlier $1.1 billion investment in Westinghouse and that it should be accounted for as a single equity investment.

Earlier in the year, Shaw received a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission pertaining to the Westinghouse investment, commenting on its application of the equity method of accounting and the accounting for a put option and a customer-relationship agreement related to the investment.

In its August filing, the company said the put option and related embedded derivative and the commercial-relationship agreement should not have been accounted for separately. Therefore, it restated its financial statements to reflect the total Westinghouse transaction cost of about $1.1 billion as “Investment in Westinghouse” in the November 30, 2006, balance sheet.